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Announcing the Vault Law 2024 Best Law Firms to Work For, Best Law Firms for Diversity, and Best Summer Associate Program Rankings

Published: Jun 28, 2023

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Vault Law’s 2024 quality of life rankings are official. “If you want to work at a large, prestigious firm with top quality of life attributes, Clifford Chance is the place to be,” says Carter Isham, Senior Law Editor at Vault. The firm made the top 10 for every quality of life category and claimed 15 out of 26 No. 1 rankings, including Best Overall Law Firm to Work For, Best Overall Law Firm for Diversity, and Best Overall Summer Associate Program.

The 2024 Top 10 Best Law Firms to Work For are:

#1 Clifford Chance US LLP

#2 O’Melveny & Myers LLP

#3 McDermott Will & Emery (tie)

#3 Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP (tie)

#5 BakerHostetler

#6 Orrick

#7 Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP

#8 Proskauer Rose LLP

#9 Dechert

#10 Gibson Dunn

This year’s ranking saw significant changes in the Best Law Firms to Work for ranking, including changes to the top 10, with Clifford Chance moving up four spots to take No. 1 and two firms moving into the top 10—BakerHostetler at No. 5 and Proskauer Rose at No. 8. Gibson Dunn is the only member of this year’s Vault 10 (the 10 most prestigious law firms, according to current associates) to also make the top 10 Best Law Firms to Work For list.

Clifford Chance took the top spot in seven subcategories: Associate/Partner Relations, Career Outlook, Formal Training, Informal Training, Hours, Quality of Work, and Technology. Associates say that “partners are often vocal about how appreciative they are of associates,” that “there are plenty of opportunities for professional development, through billable work, pro bono work, and business development work,” and that the firm is “very collegial and social.”

Other new No. 1s include: O’Melveny for Firm Culture and Wellness; Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz for Compensation; Williams & Connolly LLP for Business Outlook; and Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP for Lateral & Clerk Integration. McDermott retained its No. 1 spots in Satisfaction and Transparency; Morgan Lewis held onto No. 1 for Pro Bono; and Williams & Connolly remains No. 1 for Selectivity.

DIVERSITY RANKINGS

There were new No. 1s in each of the Diversity Rankings, with Clifford Chance claiming the top spot in Overall Diversity, Diversity for Women, Diversity for LGBTQ+ Individuals, and Diversity for Individuals with Disabilities. As one Clifford Chance associate said, “The firm is shockingly proactive and enthusiastic about diversity—I am a diverse individual and a natural Scrooge about these initiatives, but they have won me over. Lawyers participate, programs are sponsored, and affinity groups are active.”

Other changes in Diversity included O’Melveny & Myers moving into the No. 1 spot for Racial & Ethnic Diversity. In Overall Diversity, BakerHostetler moved up five spots to No. 4, Littler Mendelson P.C. and Morrison & Foerster LLP moved up over 15 spots each to No. 7 and No. 12, respectively, and five firms joined from unranked in 2023: Proskauer landed in the top 10, and Sheppard Mullin, Ballard Spahr, Haynes Boone, and Jenner & Block ranked in the top 20 Best Law Firms for Diversity. The diversity rankings, like our other rankings, reflect associates’ opinions, not diversity statistics.

SUMMER PROGRAM RANKINGS

The Summer Program rankings saw a fair bit of movement throughout as well. “Summer programs looked very different over the past few years due to pandemic-related restrictions, and each firm handled things differently,” said Isham. She added, “Because the Summer Program rankings come from junior associates who participated in their current firm’s summer program, we see firms’ decisions reflected in the 2024 Summer Program rankings.” Clifford Chance retained their top spot in Best Overall Summer Associate Program and Best Summer Program for Career Development and added a No. 1 ranking in Best Summer Program for Social Experiences. As one associate said, “Because my summer program was intentionally designed to mirror the first few months as an associate, I felt like my first few months at the firm were easier. I knew what to expect.”

Kramer Levin also made notable moves in the Summer Program rankings, popping into top-10 spots in all categories and claiming No. 1 Best Summer Program for Attorney Interactions. Bracewell, Morgan Lewis, and Jackson Walker also ranked in the top 10 of each Summer Program ranking.

VAULT LAW RANKINGS

The Vault Law 2024 Rankings are derived from Vault’s Annual Associate Survey, conducted from January 2023 through March 2023. To determine the Overall Best Law Firms to Work For, Vault uses a formula that weighted the most relevant categories in the following formula: 25% satisfaction; 10% firm culture; 10% hours; 10% compensation; 10% quality of work; 5% business outlook; 5% career outlook; 5% associate/partner relations; 5% transparency; 5% formal and informal training; 5% pro bono; and 5% overall diversity. To determine the Overall Best Law Firms for Diversity, Vault uses a formula that evenly weighs the four categories of Diversity for Women, Racial & Ethnic Diversity, Diversity for LGBTQ+ Individuals, and Diversity for Individuals with Disabilities. For Overall Best Summer Associate Programs, Vault uses a formula that averages six individual ratings: attorney interactions, substantive assignments, training and mentoring, preparation for associate life, quality of events, and satisfaction with firm-sponsored social opportunities and interactions.

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